Cole Memorandum

U.S.: Attorney General Sessions to Rescind Memo on State Cannabis Laws

Jeff Sessions

By Michael Bachara
Hemp News

Earlier this morning, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions moved to rescind Obama-era guidance, aka the Cole Memo, which has generally allowed states to implement their own cannabis laws without federal interference.

The Obama Justice Department deputy attorney general, who authored it in 2013, set out certain criteria that would allow states to implement their own laws mostly without intervention, if followed. The focus of the memo was interstate trafficking and abuse.

U.S.: Jeff Sessions Makes New Controversial Statements About Marijuana

Jeff Sessions.jpg

By Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

Attorney General Jeff Sessions continues to make statements that upset marijuana advocates and business investors, but it is remarks he recently didn't say that has mostly interested journalists covering the marijuana industry.

In prepared remarks, Sessions had planned to repeat a line he had used earlier when addressing a group in Virginia, saying that marijuana was only "slightly less awful" than heroin. He chose not to repeat the line, however.

He did question the current situation when it comes to abiding by the Cole memo, as the Obama administration had done.

“The Cole Memorandum set up some policies under President Obama’s Department of Justice about how cases should be selected in those states, and what would be appropriate for federal prosecution, much of which I think is valid,” Sessions replied to a question as to whether his Department of Justice (DOJ) would sue states that have legalized recreational marijuana.

“I may have some different ideas myself in addition to that,” Sessions said, “but essentially, we’re not able to go into a state and pick up the work that police and sheriffs have been doing for decades.”

According to Marijuana Business Daily, there are two main points to take away from Sessions' remarks for marijuana businesses.

Nevada: Feds Threaten To Shut Down Las Vegas High Times Cannabis Cup

Las Vegas.jpg

by Derrick Stanley
Hemp News

According to the Reno Gazette-Journal, the Feds threaten to shut down the 2017 Las Vegas High Times Cannabis Cup in a Feb. 16 letter to the Moapa Paiute Tribe.

The article reports that U.S. Attorney Daniel Bogden, based in Las Vegas, sent a Feb. 16 letter to the Moapa Paiute Tribe reminding the tribe that the transport, possession, use and distribution of marijuana is illegal under federal law.

The letter obtained by the Reno Gazette-Journal said that the marijuana trade show and festival, planned for March 4 and 5, would be in violation of that law.

In the letter, Bogden states, “I am informed that the tribal council is moving forward with the planned marijuana event referred to as the 2017 High Times Cannabis Cup because it is under the impression that the so-called ‘Cole Memorandum’ and subsequent memoranda from the Department of Justice permit marijuana use, possession and distribution on tribal lands when the state law also permits it. Unfortunately, this is an incorrect interpretation of the Department’s position on this issue.”

The Cole Memorandum provides guidance to federal officials in states that have legalized marijuana in some form.

The Guidance Memorandum, another memo, indicates that tribal governments and U.S. attorneys should consult government-to-government as issues arise.

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